Catherine the Great

Portrait of A Woman

Massie, Robert K.

Book - 2011
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Catherine the Great
Presents a reconstruction of the eighteenth-century empress's life that covers her efforts to engage Russia in the cultural life of Europe, her creation of the Hermitage, and her numerous scandal-free romantic affairs.

Publisher: New York : Random House, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0679456724
Branch Call Number: B-C362mc 2011
Characteristics: xiii, 625 p., [16] p. of col. plates :,col. ill. (some col.), maps ;,25 cm
Alternate Title: Portrait of a woman


From Library Staff

The true rags-to-riches story of a German princess who rises to become the empress of all Russia.

From the critics

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Dec 04, 2014
  • booboo2014 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Massie writes about Catherine as if she were a Kardashian. Though her life is well-known to history, Massie invites the reader into a world filled with lust, power, and intrigue that will have you flipping pages faster than a James Patterson novel. If all history were this accessible, I would read nothing else!

Jul 20, 2014
  • duffh rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Well written and arranged. May be more detailed than the casual reader wants - even side characters get bios, and the guillotine is debated - but I enjoyed its thoroughness.

Jul 01, 2014
  • Annlee60 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A very well written book indeed. The author's style is precise. Did not bore readers with unnecessary historical facts but still managed to be extremely informative. A very interesting and captivating read.

Jan 27, 2014
  • Joshziel rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I learned a lot from this book, and also couldn't put it down.

Jan 17, 2014

A very well researched and interesting biography of Catherine The Great. I knew little about this strong and intelligent woman, her rise to power and her accomplishments during her reign. Excellent book.

Oct 20, 2013
  • AlliGee rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I'm going to have to disagree with some of my fellow commentators; if you approach the book with a great deal of historical Russia knowledge, perhaps this will seem shallow to you. But the book is called "CATHERINE the Great," not "RUSSIA the Great," and I think it provided a perfect amount of context needed to understand Catherine, her reign and her court. Additionally, while rumors and anecdotes ARE mentioned, they are not cited as authentic; it is made quite plain and transparent that what is being relayed to the reader IS a rumor or an anecdote, sometimes even multiple explanations for the same event are given with the disclaimer that the truth is not definitively known.

If you like historical fiction but generally shy away from historical non-fiction, this is an excellent crossover/gateway book. While it is a lengthy volume, it never gets droll or feels like you're reading a textbook; Massie tells a story, and doesn't just relay academic research and facts. I found it fascinating.

Oct 17, 2013
  • suzannehb rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I found this book as enjoyable as Nicholas and Alexandria. The first 3/4 was certainly engrossing, the latter 1/4 was less well organized and felt rushed. However, if you enjoy historical fiction, I doubt you will be disappointed with this book.

Jan 16, 2013
  • sasie rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A powerful lady who led a fascinating life. Well told and enjoyable to read.

Jan 01, 2013
  • vliacobellis rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Wonderful! Massie is an incredible storyteller. An incredible woman in such an interesting time!

Oct 08, 2012
  • Lauren31 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Enjoyable, easy read - what a fascinating time period, and what a fascinating (not to mention powerful) woman.

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